The G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1400m) – the second of two New Year’s Day features – sits as a symbolic 2020 launching pad for Hong Kong phenomenon Golden Sixty, whose progress to G1 glory was both inevitable and compelling.
The 2021 running of the HK$3.5 million contest on Friday (1 January) will not involve Hong Kong’s highest-rated horse, but it presents opportunities for two emerging talents – Winning Dreamer and Sky Darci – to state their case against three of the 2020 crop who chased Golden Sixty home last year.
With Fat Turtle (119lb), Champion’s Way (118lb) and Ka Ying Star (133lb) returning and Frankie Lor’s unbeaten Winning Dreamer (113lb) looming, Caspar Fownes expects to accurately gauge where Sky Darci (113lb) sits ahead of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series which commences on 24 January, 2021 with the first leg, the HK$12 million Hong Kong Classic Mile.
“Sky Darci’s been going really well, but he’s dropping back to 1400m,” Fownes said, explaining the challenge facing the gelding as he chases a fourth successive win.
“Obviously he’s out of the ratings (98), with Ka Ying Star, the top horse (at 124) and he’ll end up carrying 115 with Joao (Moreira) riding two pounds overweight.
“But I still think he’s going to be competitive. He’s a good horse. He’s got draw one and he keeps progressing, so he’s probably there on a place chance.
“Obviously, Winning Dreamer looks very, very good.